Etihad Airways outlines major expansion of Australian operations

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, outlined a range of major changes to its Australian operations, including new aircraft, new routes, additional flights and new airport facilities. Speaking in Sydney at the CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation Summit, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, James Hogan, said Australia was a key and long-term market for the airline and one for which there were exciting growth plans. Mr Hogan said the airline’s future steps for Australia included: Airbus A380 aircraft from Sydney and Melbourne to Abu Dhabi, construction of premium lounges at Sydney and Melbourne Airports from 2014, additional flights from Melbourne and Brisbane to Abu Dhabi and commencement of nonstop flights between Perth and Abu Dhabi. He also reaffirmed that Etihad Airways was already moving to increase its equity in Virgin Australia, following recent approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board to increase from a 10% shareholding to 19.9%. “Virgin Australia is a key member of our ever-expanding airline equity alliance, and Etihad Airways is an active and long-term investor in Virgin,” Mr Hogan said. “We have a significant presence in Australia, with 28 weekly departures, annual expenditure of over $100m, direct employment of 106 staff and engagement of 415 local contractors,” he said.

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